Numerous concerns must be decided on when a couple chooses to separate, including spousal and child support, child custody, and possession of the marital home. Formal family court decisions, however, can take several months or even years. Since pressing matters must be decided on as quickly as possible, Temporary Orders exist to address these issues.
The primary purpose of Temporary Orders is to enable both spouses and their children to live in the manner they are accustomed to, even after they have separated into two different households.
Though not required, either party in a divorce or custody case in Colorado may request Temporary Orders from the court. These are orders govern while the case is pending and until final orders are entered.
The reason to request a Temporary Orders hearing varies from case to case. These are some of the issues typically ruled on a temporary basis—until permanent orders or the final hearing takes place:
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Allocation of parental responsibilities
- Exclusive possession of the marital home
- Possession and use of the family vehicle
- Payments of marital debts
- Health insurance payments
- Attorney’s fees
In most cases, a Temporary Orders hearing is typically held before a magistrate. The court cannot determine final division of property or final custody yet, as these issues can only be decided on by a judge at Permanent Orders. A Temporary Orders hearing will transpire anywhere from immediately (for emergency situations) to four months from the date of filing.
It is important to note that all orders entered at a Temporary Orders hearing are merely short-term, and that issues raised during this hearing may be re-litigated at the Permanent Orders hearing.
Prior to a Temporary Orders hearing, Colorado law requires that both parties take part in a good faith settlement conference to discuss all Temporary Orders disputes fully. If an agreement is reached, a stipulation should be written down for both parties and their legal counsel to sign, and submitted to the judge for approval. When an agreement is submitted to the court, the Temporary Orders hearing may be cancelled or vacated. If an agreement is not reached, then a hearing is scheduled. During this hearing, the judge reviews all exhibits and testimony establishing the need for specific orders.
A Temporary Orders hearing is just as important as other proceedings in family court, consequently, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice from an experienced family law attorney.